Alternative Spring Break was started in 1991 in an attempt to promote hands on community service within UCLA by immersing volunteers in an environment away from UCLA for the week of Spring Break. Twenty volunteers were selected to participate that first year. Throughout the winter quarter the volunteers worked on confirming the sites as well as projects that were to be done during the break. They organized the entire trip, but most importantly they educated themselves on the issues facing the two project sites: Tijuana, Mexico and Teesto, Arizona.
At the sites the volunteers not only applied what they had already learned, but they also learned and experienced a great deal more by interacting with the people from those communities and more importantly, by working beside them. Upon their return, some of the volunteers were so moved by their experiences that they immediately decided not only they would return to their sites, but that they would improve the program as well.
Since 1965, the Community Service Commission (CSC) has focused its efforts towards creating social change, understanding the greater Los Angeles and Tijuana community, and promoting campus-wide service programming.
CSC represents 33 student-run community service projects and over 2,000 students each year, making CSC the largest completely student-run, student-initiated community service organization in the nation. Students work together to tutor youths and adults, address the health needs of ethnic communities, combat poverty and homelessness, and reach out to incarcerated youth and neglected children. CSC projects strive to provide communities with the tools to empower themselves and challenge the structures and barriers that keep them from achieving their goals.
The commission also aims to centralize the service efforts of the UCLA campus community through large-scale service programming, Alternative Spring Break, collaborations, and issues awareness.